In the Loop

  • UGA Students Condemn Library-Wide Email Railing Against Undocumented Immigrants


    A University of Georgia library employee is under investigation by UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office after sending an email via the university-wide library email list stating her controversial views on immigration in June.

    The Office of Multicultural Services and Programs and organizations such as the Hispanic Student Association, NAACP, Listo and MIXED recently received an anonymous letter that contained a copy of the email originally written by the library employee, Kay Altschul. The letter was sent during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15–Oct. 15.

    “To encourage illegal activity and give them food, house and rest and a Country to break our laws. That is how they began their life with our Country. What makes us think they will live with different morals since they’ve crossed over the border illegally? What do we want for this Country now? Total Immorality? Injustice? Chaos? Cheating? Lying? Stealing? Killing?,” the email sent on June 20 reads.


  • ACCPD Deputy Chief Justin Gregory Is Resigning


    Photo Credit: Athens-Clarke County

    Deputy Chief Justin Gregory is the second top administrator to leave the Athens-Clarke County police department in less than two weeks.

    Gregory, a 23-year veteran of law enforcement, submitted his resignation Friday, effective Oct. 5. He told Flagpole that he's been thinking about changing careers for over a year to spend more time with his family and gain more life experience. He said he's leaving his options open.

    "It's time to figure out what to do with the rest of my life," he said.


  • Gaines, Cowsert Campaigns Are Flush With Cash


    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole/file

    Houston Gaines.

    It seems unlikely Republican Houston Gaines will run out of money as he seeks to unseat Democratic Rep. Deborah Gonzalez in Georgia House District 117 in November.

    Gaines, in his second attempt to win a House seat, was sitting on $169,450 in unspent funds as the election entered its crucial stage this summer.

    That’s $145,951 more than the $23,499 that Gonzalez had on hand at the same time period.

    It’s also significantly more than the $36,310 that incumbent Democrat Jonathan Wallace had in unspent funds for his re-election campaign in the 119th House District and the $10,746 that Republican challenger Marcus Wiedower had.


  • Woman Killed Crossing West Broad Street

    cop car.jpg

    An elderly woman was killed Friday night while crossing West Broad Street, according to Athens-Clarke County police.

    Patricia Barker, 74, was crossing West Broad at Briarcliff Road, where she lived, when she was hit by a driver in a minivan traveling east at about 8:30 p.m. Friday. She was crossing north to south and had made it across all but one of seven lanes of traffic when she was hit, police said.

    When police arrived, National EMS personnel were performing CPR. Barker was then taken to a hospital, where she died of her injuries.

    There is no crosswalk at Briarcliff Road, and there are no sidewalks to the nearest crosswalks on that part of West Broad.

    No charges have been filed against the driver, a 36-year-old Oconee County woman.


  • Groups Demand Answers on Chief Freeman's Departure

    ACCPD Chief Freeman.jpg

    Three local political groups want answers on why Scott Freeman is no longer chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

    The Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and Athens for Everyone—representing the Latinx community, African Americans and progressives, respectively—issued a statement over the weekend demanding "clarity" on Freeman's departure.

    Freeman made a concerted effort to reach out to minority communities and refused to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement during his three-plus years as chief. He resigned under pressure last Thursday, with his boss, ACC Manager Blaine Williams, citing problems with attrition.

    According to the groups' statement:


  • City Manager: Police Chief Lost Confidence of Department

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    Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams

    Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams said Thursday night that he and Police Chief Scott Freeman mutually agreed to part ways over simmering concerns about morale and attrition within the police department.

    "This has been coming for some time," Williams told Flagpole, adding that "this is a conversation that's been happening the past five or six months.

    "Real or perceived, there's been an erosion in confidence in the chief," Williams said. "The chief has done a lot of great things, but I've got to bring some stability to the department... At the end of the day, the chief and I agreed mutually this was in the best interests of the department."


  • Scott Freeman Is Out as Athens Police Chief

    ACCPD Chief Freeman.jpg

    Scott Freeman is no longer chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, but the circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear.

    As an Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement town hall meeting about community relations with police was wrapping up, AADM co-founder Knowa Johnson announced that Freeman had been fired.

    The Athens Banner-Herald broke the story at about 7:30 p.m., quoting Mayor Nancy Denson as saying that ACC Manager Blaine Williams had fired Freeman.

    “I wasn’t surprised that he was let go because I know there were several issues,” Denson told the ABH. “Evidently he wasn’t a good fit for Athens.”

    Neither Williams nor Freeman immediately returned calls seeking comment. But about 20 minutes later, the ACC government issued a news release saying Freeman had resigned effective today. The announcement said he is leaving to "pursue other opportunies."


  • Oconee County Added Half an Elementary School Worth of Students This Year

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    Photo Credit: screencap via Lee Becker

    The Oconee County Board of Education.

    Enrollment in Oconee County schools increased by 246 students over the last year, marking the fourth straight year that enrollment in the county schools grew by more than 3 percentage points.

    Brook Whitmire, chief human resources officer for the school system, told the board of education on Monday that the growth in enrollments means that the county is adding enough students each year to represent about half of a K–5 school.

    The Oconee County School District opened Dove Creek Elementary School on Hog Mountain Road in the far western part of the county this year to accommodate school growth.


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